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American Chop Suey


American Chop Suey

 American Chop Suey. This is a recipe I discovered on the New England Today page.  It sounded and looked incredibly delicious.  I printed out in short time and put it on my to do list.

Yesterday was the day.  I cut the recipe in half as there are only two of us. I have given that down-sized recipe here. If you want the full one, just click the link above. Its fantastic!

American Chop Suey

 For me to call this fantastic is no small feat.  You can consider that high praise indeed.  Since I was a child I have had a strong aversion to eating ground beef mixed into anything. 

It always made me gag. It was a texture thing. My mom always bought the cheapest meat she could. I don't fault her for that. She was being economical, or trying to be.  It was always filled with gristle and sometimes bits of bone.

American Chop Suey

I have always been extremely sensitive to anything like that. Even paper touching my teeth makes me gag. I cannot stand it. They have a name for it now. Its called Tactile Defensiveness. There was no name for it back then.

My parents just thought I was being awkward.  I used to get punished for it. I was probably one of ht few people on the planet who could take a plate of mixed meat and pasta and eat just the pasta, leaving every speck of meat behind. After a while my mother stopped giving me anything with hamburger in it.

American Chop Suey

 Recently I have been buying extra lean ground steak and using that in my cooking. It does cost more than ground beef, but it is worth every penny.

I have discovered that I am able to eat it without any problem. In fact I am actually starting to enjoy it.  I am ever so pleased about that.  Making this American Chop Suey was final proof to me that I can do it. It was delicious. 


So much so that here I am a day later still thinking about it.  High praise indeed.  And I have to say it is a very simple, quick and easy casserole to make as well. And you know how much I like easy. 

So what is American Chop Suey?  And why are you seeing it on The English Kitchen. 
 
Its simple really.  first of all I am a North American and my roots go deep into North American soil. Whilst I love all things British there is still a huge part of me that craves North American flavours and tastes.

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is a term used to describe a popular American comfort dish. Generally speaking it is composed of ground beef, sauce, vegetables and pasta. It goes by many terms actually.  Texas Hash are just a few names.

In New England States it is called American Chop Suey. A delicious mixture of macaroni, seasoned ground beef, tomato-ey goodness and cheese.

 
So where does Chop Suey come in?  Well I will tell you. I have a brain that loves to know the why's and where-fores of things. The history and especially the food-history of recipes.

The term Chop Suey is thought to be a transcription of the Chinese term "tsa tsui."  It translates from the Mandarin to mean " a little of this and a little of that" from what I understand


American Chop Suey

There is a saying here in the UK, which goes, "There's naught so queer as folk."  I think that saying would apply here.  There is nothing remotely Chinese about this dish. 

What it is is an amazingly flexible, easy and forgiving dish that can be hacked together in a myriad of ways.  This way I am showing you today, is incredibly delicious, and my favourite!

American Chop Suey

 This has comfort food written all over it. It has "family-pleasing" written right into it's DNA.  There is nothing about this not to fall in love with.

Simple ingredients are put together in a very simple way.  I bet you have just about everything in your kitchen right now to make this!

American Chop Suey

 I use Garofalo Pasta in recent years. Not only do they have a wide variety of types and shapes available, but it is excellent pasta. I used their "macaroni" for this. It worked beautifully.

For many years here in the UK I could not find elbow macaroni. There are some things that are just better with elbow macaroni if you know what I mean.  Shape is everything when it comes to pasta and the sauces you serve with them.

American Chop Suey

 As I aready told you above, I used lean ground steak.  I get it from my butcher and it is worth every single penny in quality, texture and taste. 

The vegetables used are a fresh green pepper and a medium onion.  Just one of each and both chopped. Not too large, not too fine.  A medium dice.

American Chop Suey

 It uses a jar of spaghetti sauce.  Sauce is everything and I have learned that when it to spaghetti sauce, you get what you pay for. I used a small jar of Lloyd Grossman's Basil and Tomato Spaghetti Sauce. 

It has a beautiful texture and is filled with lovely bits of real tomato and plenty of basil.  If you want a well flavoured dish, do opt to buy a good quality sauce. It will make a huge difference.

American Chop Suey

There is also garlic in the dish. One clove minced. I have been using the jarred minced garlic in recent months. I have had a difficult time finding fresh garlic that doesn't taste funny to me.  

The quality and taste in the jarred is always  spot on for me. I keep saying every year I am going to try growing my own, but then I don't.  This year was no different. I didn't.

American Chop Suey

 Cheese.  The original recipe called for just Mozzarella cheese. This gets sprinkled on top. I mixed Mozzarella with grated Jack cheese and it was excellent I have to say!  EX-CELL-ENT! 

It had just the right amount of flavour and just enough gooeyness.  In short, it was perfect. Don't skip sprinkling more gren pepper on top.  It adds a special "je ne sais quoi!"

 
I dare say that this freezes very well and also reheats beautifully. Its beautiful as written, but you can certainly put your own stamp on it if you want by adding vegetables to the mix such as celery, which would be lovely. 

I can promise you, you will enjoy this thoroughly!

American Chop Suey

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American Chop Suey
Yield: 2 - 3
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mincook time: 35 Mintotal time: 50 Min
A delicious spin on an American Classic, perfectly sized for two to three people, depending on appetites. To serve more simply double the ingredients. This is comfort food, pure and simple.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (115g) elbow pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and diced, divided
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS light olive oil
  • 1 cup (8 ounces)  (240g) jar of good quality spaghetti sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup grated four cheese blend (100g)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 7 by 9 inch casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Cook the macaroni in boiling lightly salted water just until al dente.  Drain and rinse. Drain again. Set aside. (If you want to keep it from sticking together you can add a touch of olive oil to it.)
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the beef, garlic, onions and peppers. (reserve 2 TBS of the green pepper for later.) Saute unil the beef is browned and no longer pink. Add the spaghetti sauce and seasonings.  Taste and adjust as necessary. Add the cooked macaroni and then pour the whole mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over top and sprinkle with the reserved green pepper. Cover tightly with aluminium foil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25  minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and just starting to brown.
  6. Serve hot.
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American Chop Suey

This is delicious served with a side salad and perhaps some crusty bread, depending on appetites. On this particular occasion we enjoyed it with a salad alone. 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

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Marie Rayner
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16 comments:

  1. Hi Marie, this recipe seems very familiar to me possibly because I made a similar version for dinner tonight. I call mine spaghetti casserole. I used spaghattini instead of elbow macaroni, a red pepper instead of a green one,a combination of ground beef, pork and veal, chopped garlic, chopped onion and a jar of Classico Rose sauce plus shredded mozzarella cheese. It was very tasty and bonus...there are leftovers! I love leftovers. Thanks for sharing all your recipes, Marie. They certainly inspire me to be a little more adventuresome in the kitchen. Love and hugs, Elaine

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    1. Oh I do so love it when you comment Elaine. This is really a workhorse of a little recipe that is so family friendly and timeless. I think every family must have their own version of it. My Aunt Thelma used to make it and her macaroni would be so overcooked, but it was much beloved nonetheless. Your version sounds fantastic! xoxo

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  2. When I grew up my house was strictly meat and potatoes - no pasta - but this dish in the Maritimes was pretty common. My best friends' mother made it with a can of tomato soup with hamburger, macaroni, and onions. It was considered posh when a can of diced tomatoes were used instead of the soup. We never had a name for it - just 'that hamburger-tomato- macaroni thingie". It got me through college as you could make quite a bit, and fry it for leftovers. Only a few years ago did I find it had the name 'chop suey'. Over time, I've added the green peppers, cheese on top, and bacon bits - still yummy and a 'win win' when the grandchildren come over...

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    1. My mother used to make a French Canadian version for my father Linda! Pate Chinoise, which also sounds like a Chinese name! I think every family probably had their own versions of this. You are right, it is a great student meal! xoxo

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  3. This is great. Just like Mom used to make. I'm from and still in New England and it was always called American Chop Suey. I have a friend from Wisconsin who knows it as Hungarian Goulash. Anyway, these days I usually put a little chopped zucchini in it.

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    1. Hi James! I love New England and have a lot of family living there. I hope you are staying safe! Chopped Zucchini sounds like a delicious way to sneak in some extra vegetables! xoxo

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  4. Yes! What James said...here we call it goulash LOL..... I am not a huge fan of green peppers, so I use celery.... I actually prefer a very similar dish....but it's a bit more fussy as it adds a bechamel sauce.....pastitio or greek lasagna..... Unlike you, I am a sucker for anything with pasta, ground beef and cheese LOL.... but I grew up on a farm and we always only used our own ground beef....ummm, no gristle or bone involved LOL. ~Robin~

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    1. oh yes Pastitio is very nice! How wonderful you got to grow up on a farm. I was an airforce brat, so no real roots I guess! xoxo

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  5. I'd never heard of Amercian Chop Suey until now, I made this last night and it was delicious!

    I did add a few more bits and bobs and used Smokey Tomato and Bacon Sauce (Lyod Grossman).

    Thank you for sharing this Marie I will be making this again.

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    1. I am so pleased it was enjoyed Jan! Love that you will make it again! I have never tried the Smokey Tomato and Bacon Sauce. I will have to make it a point to order some! xoxo

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  6. Oh yay! I can finally comment here again. With the Blogger changes it would not let me comment on blogs with embedded comments and I've had to change browsers and add an extension to get it to work. You would think they'd leave well enough alone!

    But I wanted you to know that I made this and it was the perfect, warming, comforting meal we needed on a cold, blustery autumn day. We loved it and will make it again.

    We had a dish when I was growing up, which mum called "Chop Suey" (and which we really thought was Chinese!) but it's not like this at all. We'd not have had pasta in Australia in the 1960s either - I think I was nearly 20 before I first ate pasta - what a very different world it was back then.

    Mum's "Chop Suey" was minced meat, onion, shredded cabbage, grated carrot all fried, then added a packet of chicken noodle soup, some curry powder, rice and hot water. Then it was cooked for 15 minutes or so and a tin of pineapple pieces (plus the juice in the tin) was added. It sounds strange, but we loved it and thought we were being very daring - especially when we were allowed a few drops of soy sauce on top.

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    1. That actually sounds quite delicious Marie. I think we are cut from the same cloth! I am so happy you can comment again and that you were able to make the American Chop Suey and enjoy it! Sorry to hear of your recent health problems, Will be emailing you. xoxo

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  7. Hi Marie,
    Thank you! Made this last night for dinner and it was delicious! I used penne pasta (what I had) and red bell peppers and it was the perfect meal for a rainy evening.
    Terri

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    Replies
    1. Terri, I am so pleased it was enjoyed! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience! xoxo

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  8. Love it! Grew up eating it about once a week. Here in the Midwestern states, we call it Goulash, not to be confused with the European soup version. So easy and tasty. Thanks for reminding me. It just turned colder here in Missouri, time for comfort food!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Glenna, yes I have also heard it called Goulash! I love comfort food season! xoxo

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